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Farming operations plan for the coming year in the winter. The University of Tennessee Extension works with many people in agritourism to boost their business through social media, e-commerce and marketing.

Agritourism operations have sprung up across the Volunteer State over the past several decades, generating a $54 million annual economic impact.

Places like Lucky Ladd Farm includes animals and attractions where anyone can escape to be a kid again. But for corn mazes and pick-your-own operations to be successful, they need customers.

“Social media allows more in-the-moment interactions,” said Megan Leffew of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture. “What’s going on right now? What’s going on today? What causes do we support? What’s going on at the farm?”

Leffew led a series of workshops statewide for agritourism operators on improving their social media reach. A business needs a web presence, but at these seminars, agritourism owners learn to up their game to use nearly every means of social media possible for effective marketing.

Laney Elrod is social media savvy, but she came to the seminar to learn. She’s the marketing director for a middle Tennessee winery. She says social media is a great way for the business to engage customers, not just hit them with information.

“I try to ask different questions to get everyone involved, and getting the winery out there,” said Elrod. “It works really well for us because we also get feedback from different events that we’ve already done that we’re doing again.”

In traditional farming, you grow a crop, harvest and take it to market to sell. But with agritourism, the customers have to come to you.

 

Now that three-quarters of Americans now have a social networking profile, technology has become both a new way of life and a business opportunity.